Best Russian Classic Comedy Films
written by Souranath Banerjee
Best Russian Classic Comedy Films: Though full of talented writers, actors and directors Russian Cinema have never seen its full potential for many years. Unfortunately there was strict political restriction on every aspect of art for over a period of 25 years, many valuable film-prints have been burnt and destroyed while the lives of innumerable filmmakers were wasted as they were never allowed to make a single movie!
But still some of the movies that were fortunate enough to be made and released, many among them were comedies and that too of great entertainment value. And some directors among them often in the form of allegory or satire dared to portray the real struggle of the people in the then Soviet nation. And they succeeded with flying colors!
And so here are some of the Best Russian Classic Comedy Films, evergreen and hilarious as ever!
10. The Girls (1961)
Devchata (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Divs3I1ioQ
During winter a young and naive girl comes to work at a lodging as a cook at a distant Siberian village and meets the most popular guy in the town. But contrary to all the other girl’s prediction it the guy who falls for her and not the other way round!
Directed by Yuriy Chulyukin, an adorable RomCom, great music, awesome performances and certainly one of the most popular Russian cinema of the time.
9. The Golden Calf (1968)
Zolotoy telyonok (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxQv7_IfLhE
Based on the famous novel from Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov by the same name, a humorous tale of a charming con man who blackmails an “underground Soviet millionaire” to fulfill his dream of moving to Rio de Janeiro.
8. Gentlemen of Fortune (1971)
Dzhentlmeny udachi (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGn-N31nHuk
A timid kindergarten teacher is mistaken as a notorious criminal because they look alike. And then the authorities try to capture the real goon by disguising the innocent as the criminal!
Directed by Aleksandr Seryj, and Evgeniy Leonov having a double role – this classic comedy-formula of mistaken identity has been used for ages but this film is probably the most hilarious example of the concept.
7. Heart of a Dog (1988)
Sobache serdtse (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-2pOQcbFx4
A science experiment has gone wrong, a Professor and his colleague manage to turn a stray dog into something very close to a human being!
Directed by Vladimir Bortko, a rare Russian Sci Fi comedy, a cult classic adopted from Mikhail A. Bulgakov‘s work, highly controversial as the film can be interpreted as a brilliant socio political allegory.
6. Only Old Men Are Going to Battle (1974)
V boy idut odni ‘stariki’ (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JN4i0OnHdA
Directed by Leonid Bykov who is also the lead in the movie, a popular classic that focuses on the Soviet pilots fighting the Germans in the Ukraine during the WWII.
Not a war film though, not exactly a comedy as well but still it will always have a special place in the history of Russian cinema for powerfully narrating the sentiments of people during the war. Great music as well!
5. Welcome, or No Trespassing (1964)
Dobro pozhalovat, ili Postoronnim vkhod vospreshchen (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blHxQ7ATzCc
A lesser known Russian comedy that guarantees enough entertainment and laughter!
It’s about the children and the strict regime they have to follow, and the struggles they have to face while growing up.
Directed by Elem Klimov, this one is a classic satire also can be interpreted as a brilliant parody of the then Soviet life. A must watch!
4. Mimino (1977)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isxBXnbuUqc
A helicopter pilot of a local airlines goes to Moscow following his dreams to become an international pilot. But chasing dreams are always difficult.
A simple story with great cultural references, essentially about humanity and friendship.
Directed by the acclaimed Georgiy Daneliya, this one is probably the most popular Russian comedy ever made!
Operatsiya ‘Y’ i drugie priklyucheniya Shurika (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPU-L6xr_2k
Three mini films with one common central character played by the brilliant Aleksandr Demyanenko. Hilarious and superbly performed, the comedy is more into the slapstick Charlie Chaplin zone but effective and highly entertaining!
Leonid Gayday, a director who specialized in comedy and his films are still some of the most popular ones all over the world.
2. Office Romance (1977)
Sluzhebnyy roman (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjTimO4j2T4
My personal favorite in the list, a film that is so sensitive and yet absolutely hilarious!
A man wants to impress his strict lady-boss for that office promotion but unexpectedly they fall for each other!
Directed by one of the best Russian director of the time Eldar Ryazanov, I won’t exactly call it a laugh riot but this one will tickle your funny bones for sure.
1. Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1980)
Moskva slezam ne verit (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTWE4KTrQaw
A masterpiece from the acclaimed director Vladimir Menshov, narrating the story of three girlfriends – starting with their adventurous youth and then leaping 20 years ahead in their lives!
The Oscar winning film though so effectively punctuated with numerous comic moments is essentially a beautiful drama that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.
and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)
+1. Happiness (1935)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LGx3n3I_LE
A classic silent film, both funny and political at the same time.
The ‘Loser’ farmer and his misadventures – more in the line of Buster Keaton type humor where the expressionless protagonist moves around through a series of comic disasters!
One of the earliest and critically acclaimed comedy from Russia directed by Aleksandr Medvedkin.
A few other popular Russian Classic Comedy Films that didn’t make the list but totally worth checking out are Striped Trip (1961), The Night Before Christmas (1962), Tri plyus dva (1963), The Republic of ShKID (1966), Hello, I’m Your Aunt! (1975), Formula of Love (1984), A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987), Peculiarities of the National Hunt (1995), Peculiarities of the National Fishing (1997).
Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.